Today I presented and defended my senior thesis on my physics research to the SMU physics department. Anyone who has spoken to me the last few weeks knows that my thesis has basically taken every waking moment of the last few months to complete, and I can finally rest knowing that I have passed and it is complete.
My senior thesis has an incredibly long and somewhat tedious name: "Heavy-Flavor Jet Substructure Analysis of H^0 to gg using the ATLAS Experiment and Charm Jet Tagging at the Electron-Ion Collider." Quite the mouthful to try and repeat to people. I am proud of not only completing the paper, which is a lengthy 48 pages, but also defending my thesis on the results of the last two years of my physics research at SMU.
I began this project back in the spring of 2019 when I joined Professor Stephen Sekula's research group at SMU. At the time, then-graduating-senior Rebecca Moore had been exploring simulation rates of Higgs to gluon decays, in particular ones that resulted in four bottom quarks in the final state. She was graduating and Professor Sekula was looking for another undergraduate student to jump in and continue the work. I was eager to join a high energy physics research project, especially one that involved computation and experimental work. Ever since then I have been working with Professor Sekula on his research with the Higgs at the ATLAS Experiment and with new research ambitions with the Electron-Ion Collider.
The past two years of research have empowered me to pursue a Ph.D. in physics and continue conducting research in high energy physics with an emphasis in collider physics analysis projects, similar to the work that I present in my senior thesis. High energy physics is pushing the frontier of what is possible in the areas of data analysis, machine learning and computation advancements due to the enormous amount of information gathered by particle colliders. I look forward to continuing my research in these areas as high energy physics continues with the next generation of experiments such as the High Luminosity LHC and the EIC.